Charlie Munger, a trusted confidante of Warren Buffett, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 99. Investors expressed disbelief that Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRKa.N) void would remain unfilled in spite of the company’s well-established succession plan.
According to Berkshire, Munger passed away quietly in a Californian hospital where he was a resident. There was no explanation provided. On January 1st, Munger was expected to turn 100.
Buffett, 93, is the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. “Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom, and participation,” Buffett said in a statement.
An era in corporate America and investing has come to an end with Munger’s passing. Munger has served as vice chairman of Berkshire since 1978.
Investors from all over the world revered and loved Munger along with Buffett, and many of them flocked to Berkshire’s annual shareholder weekends in Omaha, Nebraska, to hear the folksy wisdom on life and investing from the pair.
Despite Munger’s lack of involvement in Berkshire’s daily operations, Buffett is left without his reliable sounding board in the wake of his passing.
Investors expressed their sadness over Munger’s passing, stating that although Berkshire has appointed managers they believe they can trust to steer the company in the right direction, the loss would be felt deeply.
Thomas Russo, a longtime Berkshire shareholder and partner at Gardner Russo & Quinn in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, described the news as “shocking.” “It will leave a big void for investors who have modelled their thoughts, words and activities around Munger and his insights.”
Ever since assuming the role of vice chairman at Berkshire, Munger has collaborated closely with Buffett regarding the allocation of Berkshire’s capital, never holding back when he believed his business partner was making a mistake.
Together with Buffett, he was undoubtedly one of the best investors, according to Cherry Lane Investments partner Rick Meckler in New Jersey. “I’m sure it is an enormous loss for Buffett personally.”
Munger was renowned for advising Buffett to prioritise quality over what Buffett referred to as “cigar butts”—mediocre businesses with a smouldering remnant that could be purchased for extremely low prices.
Paul Lountzis, president of Lountzis Asset Management in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, said of Charlie, “Charlie felt that buying very good businesses at fair prices that could keep compounding and reinvesting cash flow into continued growth was more consistent with how he and Warren were philosophically and liked to invest.” “They liked to own businesses forever.”
An entire “generation of investment managers” gained some knowledge of their trade from Buffett and Munger, according to money manager Whitney Tilson, who was close to Munger.
“What really glued us to these men was their advice on living a full life by instructing people how to think clearly, to be honest with oneself, to learn from mistakes and to avoid calamities,” he continued.
Speaking to a private audience, Munger once joked, “All I want to know is where I’m going to die so that I never go there.” Tilson claimed to have attended dozens of the men’s meetings.
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